How to Throw a Stress-Free Wedding Shower
Here at Love Stories TV, our goal is to help every couple plan their dream day without stressing so much over every decision. In fact, our little secret? You should do exactly what you want to do as a couple—it’s your day!—no one else’s opinions matter. However, we know it’s easier said than done to not stress over a wedding so we’re sharing some of our best wedding planning tips with you.
Are you stressing about your wedding shower—how do you quickly (but thoughtfully) open gifts without boring your guests? Our founder and CEO, Rachel Jo Silver, gives her biggest tips for throwing a stress-free wedding shower. However, as we said, ultimately, you do you! Watch the video for all Rachel’s tips below.
I'm going to teach you how to unwrap gifts at your shower in a way that keeps your guests entertained and things organized. I'm Rachel, the founder and CEO of Love Stories TV, the leading video platform for wedding planning and inspiration. I've worked with brides, grooms and couples from all over the world. I know a ton about planning a wedding and a ton about setting the events that go on with the wedding. I’ve put together this guide for opening gifts at your shower that will keep you organized, keep things moving quickly so that it's stress-free for you and fun for your guests.
I'm so excited to be finally making this video. I have wanted to make a guide about how to open gifts at your bridal shower for so long. This is something people really struggle with and it's actually kind of complicated so I don't even blame you if you got to your bridal shower and panicked because you didn't know what to do, or you attended a bridal shower and you were like “I can't believe how disorganized this is.” This actually happened to me at my own bridal shower, I had like a big traditional bridal shower my cousins threw me—it was so beautiful and, leading up to it. my mom kept saying, “Okay here's how we're going to open the gifts in a way that keeps things organized. Make sure you don't forget anyone when you write thank you notes and keep things moving quickly,” and I didn't listen to her. I showed up to my shower and there were all these people there and I got really overwhelmed and I started to panic and luckily my mom explained it to me again and saved the day. I don’t want that to happen to you so watch this entire video so you learn how to open gifts at your bridal shower in a way that keeps things organized and prevents your guests from getting bored.
1. Do I actually need to register for physical gifts and do I need a shower?
The answer is yes, I know lots of people get married once they've already been living with their partner they have everything that they want and need for their kitchen and for their bedroom so they only want to register for a honeymoon or to receive cash. The truth is it’s really not polite if you only register for those things because what if somebody can't afford to give an amount at your wedding that they feel comfortable giving in cash or a cash amount towards a honeymoon and they want to give you a physical gift because it feels like they're giving you something bigger and of more value even if they didn't spend that much on it, so truly it’s polite to register for a wide range of items. Plus, you might have friends of your grandmother or friends of your mother or your aunt or whatever and they want to and are used to handing you a physical gift and I'm used to going into a store, so I say do both you can absolutely register for a honeymoon your friends would love to contribute to that but maybe some of the older people attending your wedding or more traditional and want to give you a physical gift you should definitely do both. You can always register in a store where there are other things that you want and a place that you shop at a lot that if you return some of the things you registered for you can spend that money in the future.
2. Who should be invited to the shower and who should host?
So traditionally showers were called bridal showers and they were hosted traditionally by friends or relatives of the mother of the groom or the mother of the bride, they were typically attended by females who were invited to the wedding. It is 2021: we have weddings with two brides, we have weddings with no brides, we have people getting married who don't identify with the term bride or groom, you do you, whatever feels right to you is great and we should celebrate that. I do think that you should allow friends and family to throw you a shower if they want to. It's nice for people to get together before the wedding and get to know each other. People want an excuse to celebrate you. People like to give you presents and they like to see what you got. It's fun to see what types of things you want to put in your kitchen, what types of things you want to put in your home. The idea of a wedding and celebrating with your family and friends is that people want to set you up for your life together. No matter what that means for you and so if people want to throw you a shower you should absolutely let them do it. An alternative is a couples shower that can also be hosted by friends of the couple or sometimes a couples shower is even thrown by the couple themselves. If both of you are equally interested in home decor or equally interested in cooking then that might feel right to you however you want to do it that is great. But I do strongly suggest that you have a registry with physical items on it so that people can choose what type of thing they're comfortable giving you for your wedding or shower and if people want to throw you a shower, you should have it. You and your partner and your friends and family should do what feels right to you in terms of who the shower’s being hosted for and who's in attendance.
3. How do I open my gifts in the best possible way?
No matter who is there and who hosts it, the tips I'm going to give you about opening gifts will apply and make your life easier. So you set up your registry, you are at your shower, here is how you are going to open your gifts in a way that keeps things running smoothly, organized, and when you go to write your thank-you notes it will be stress-free. You are going to have yourself, or it might be you and your partner, and then 4 other people who are going to help you do it. You're going to sit in a line, and I'll tell you the order you're going to sit in, facing the guests. You might sit behind a table if you have the right table at the right height and it is easy to hand things along the table and it looks pretty or you might sit with no table in front of you, in which case just make sure you think about the types of chairs you're sitting in and the type of outfit you're wearing so that you're comfortable sitting facing a room full of people.
The first person in the gift opening assembly line is the opener. You will have all of the gifts in a pile or on a table next to the opener. The opener literally unwraps the gift, unwraps the card, and puts the open card on top of the gift. The opener then passes the gift and the open card to the secretary. I highly recommend the person who's the Secretary is someone who's really responsible and someone who's not drinking mimosas. Maybe find a pregnant person, they're often very good secretaries. The secretary will then write down the gift and the person who gave it to you. Something you can do to make the secretary's life easier is to actually do a printout of your registry so they're just writing the gift-givers name next to the item on the actual printout. Once they’ve recorded the gift, the secretary will hand the unwrapped gift and the open card to the bride or groom for per person for whom the shower is for and they will actually say to them quietly, “This is a toaster from your Aunt Maria” and then you hold up the toaster and say, “Oh, a beautiful toaster from my Aunt Maria”, find her in the crowd say, “Thank you, Aunt Maria,” look her in the eye and you don't have to read the card aloud, but it's nice for Maria to see you reading her card. Then you take the toaster and you take the card and you hand it to the displayer. The displayer takes it and actually displays the gift out on the table and takes the card and puts it in a big manila envelope, which I recommend you use duct tape to the table so it doesn't get lost, so that there is a backup copy of the secretaries list of gifts. The final person in your group, your fourth helper, is the roving cleaner. This person is kind of walking around, behind, picking up envelopes, picking up wrapping paper, making sure no cards get lost, maybe they're helping the displayer or moving a gift along the assembly line if it's heavy. If you're having a really traditional bridal shower and you're making one of those bouquets out of wrapping paper and bows, the roving cleaner can also be the wrapping paper bouquet maker.
So let's recap who is in your gift opening assembly line so that you keep things organized, fast-moving and stress-free. First, you have the gift opener: they unwrap the gift, they open the card, they put the open card on top of the unwrapped gift, they hand it to the secretary. The secretary writes down the gift and who gave it to you. The secretary hands it to you: the bride, groom or whoever the shower is for and whispers to you what it is so that you can quickly repeat that, “Ah, a nice butter dish from my Aunt Henrietta”. Then you actually find Henrietta in the crowd, look at her, make eye contact so that she feels thanked, you read the card to yourself, then you hand the card and the gift to the gift displayer, who puts the gift out on the table so people can walk around later and see it and puts the card in a manila envelope which, like I said, I would actually fasten to the table so that it doesn't get lost. Then you have the roving cleaner, who's walking around, cleaning things up, picking up wrapping paper, making sure no cards get lost.
Something I also recommend is that right before the gift opening portion of the shower starts, have the opener actually open one or two gifts so they're ready to go so that the line is running quickly. Listen, people want to see what gifts you got, they want to see what plates you registered for, people like it, it's fun, it's like shopping, shopping is fun but they don't want to sit there for two hours and you will get sweaty and you will get stressed and anxious if you're unwrapping, no one needs to see you unwrap, they just want to see what the gift is and people want to be thanked in front of a room of other people and it’s anxiety-inducing for you if you're trying to unwrap and read and write down and find the person in the crowd. Finally, when you go home and it's time to write thank-you notes, if you have this nice list of all the gifts it is going to make your life so much easier.
So those are my tips for hosting a shower that keeps things moving quickly and stress-free. Let's recap: 1. You should do a registry with physical items on it of varying prices, you can also register for a honeymoon and also let it be known to your guests that you are happy to receive cash but you do need to register for things that people of all different levels of comfort can find something they are excited to give you for your wedding. 2. If your friends and family want to host a shower for you or for you and your partner, let them! It’s fun! It's fun for people to get together ahead of time, people want to see what you got. Remember, if the shower is being hosted for you, your partner does not necessarily have to be there. They can show up later and say thank you or not. That's totally acceptable. Whatever feels right and makes the most sense for your friends, your family and yourselves as a couple. Finally, you are going to need a team to help you unwrap the gifts at the wedding, it's going to be yourself plus four other people and I hope that you found my guide to creating that assembly line useful. If you have any questions put them in the comments below and let us know what other videos and types of advice you are looking for for your wedding. I hope you subscribe and I'll see you next time.
So there you have it—the top wedding shower tips from a past bride and the founder of a wedding planning platform. We hope this is helpful and make sure to check out all the real wedding inspiration on lovestoriestv.com.